Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself, your blog and your businesses!
Hi! I’m Victoria. I’m 27. I've been married to a sweet Canadian for 2 ½ years and we have a dog named Ranger who will always look like a cute puppy. 2015 is turning out to be a year of transition after 2014, the big shitstorm of crises and unrest. I recently decided that I want to put myself through a lot of stress and mental anguish in order to live out my dreams and be my "authentic self," which is kind of a barfy new-age term, but here’s what I mean: I knew deep down for years that what I was doing wasn't what I wanted. I think I went on that path because I felt it was expected of me and because I saw it as an obvious way to escape an awful job. But I regret nothing. I think a lot of people can relate to that; most of us are taught to follow a certain life trajectory to avoid people judging our lives. I have a personal blog, Disaster Poodle, where I discuss a lot of heavy things; my recent stint of grief/depression/anxiety, my experience working through that, and my journey to self-love and a creating a life I enjoy. I try to add a humorous flair so that people aren't turned away by all the scary feelings. There are also a lot of .gifs.
And the business: As of January 2015, I am a professional freelance writer! I don’t feel like a fraud saying that anymore because I've actually been paid to write. I’m currently writing for web marketing companies who need content for their clients. I’m working on getting higher paying work in subjects that interest me: women’s issues, politics, self-love, inspiration, mental health/psychology, and humor. It’s a lot of hard work! But for the first time basically ever, I feel excited about what I’m doing and I know the hard work will pay off.
I met you in college at Grand Valley State University near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Can you tell us what your favorite things are about the city, and what we can expect if we visit someday?
OMG, that feels like it shouldn't be 7 years ago, but it totally is. I found this embarrassing photo of us, ca. 2008, posing with the cast of the play you directed! What is even happening with my bangs.
If you’re gonna live in Michigan, you should really live in Grand Rapids. We’re “Beer City USA” according to some magazine, we have a lot of excellent restaurants and breweries that serve unique locally-sourced food, and we’re the host of the world-famous city-wide art competition, ArtPrize (truth: most of the locals are really sick of that shit). But what really makes this city special for me is my people. I have my chosen family (aka friends) here and I couldn't imagine life without them. To be honest, part of me is itching to leave Michigan in the near future. I suppose I’m going to either need to follow a buddy who moves first or take some of them with me, because I know I need close friends nearby in order to be happiest.
As a freelance writer, do you have any writing tips for fellow bloggers? What are your fave electronics and office supplies to use?
Being a freelance writer is owning a business, owning a business is work, and work is hard. A network is essential; not for business purposes (though that’s important, too), but so you can get advice, discuss your insecurities, vent about crappy clients, and get feedback on what you’re doing right and wrong in a safe space. There are a lot of networks out there. My favorites are Untamed Writing and Stephanie’s Loud Ladies, but there are plenty of others on Facebook, LinkedIn, or even locally through MeetUp. Seriously, working from home can be isolating and you need to talk to people who are going through similar things.
I am obsessed with office supplies. If I ever make the mistake of going into a Staples store, I’m there for at least an hour. My favorite supplies are these bright file folders, this desk organizer, these magical highlighters that I use a million times a day, my passion planner, and a big sturdy box I got with my KitchenAid to set on my desk so I can turn my laptop into a standing desk. I get really achy and numb if I sit for too long, and apparently sitting all day is the worst thing you can do for your body besides throwing yourself off a bridge, according to science. Since I got that KitchenAid in January, I have used it exactly zero times, but I use the box every day. Note: I do not suggest buying a KitchenAid just for the box. Just get one from your in-laws like I did!
What are your other hobbies and passions outside of work and blogging?
I like hanging out with the aforementioned family and chosen family, crafts such as cross-stitch and making useful things out of the shit I have lying around, decorating, organizing anything, and watching a lot of awesome TV shows (that counts as a hobby, right?). I am a passionate intersectional feminist and read about it and other political issues regularly. I volunteer when I can for the
What are your future plans in business and in life?
I have little goals and big goals and very rough plans as of now. Thankfully I have a life coach to help me with these things (that’s you, Steph!). My short-term goal is to create a profitable business writing about things I care about. My long-term goal is to educate girls and women on how to love themselves in a world that constantly tells them they shouldn't. To do that takes a lot of breaking down society’s standards for what they are: blatant fabrications. Many women have a hard time accepting that the messages they've received their entire lives have been created to deceive them for various reasons. I had a hard time with this, too - that’s part of what I discuss on Disaster Poodle - and I want to make it easier for others than it was for me. It’s never too late for self-love.
What's your favorite thing about the blogosphere? What's your biggest challenge?
My favorite thing about the blogosphere is the connection with other women. I reconnected with you, became good friends with Fenna, and met a lot of other women who are amazing and driven writers, entrepreneurs, and dreamers. You can never have too many bad-ass women in your life. My biggest challenge with the blogosphere is keeping up with it! There are so many blogs I want to read and connections I want to maintain, I fall behind more than I’d like. Not the worst challenge to have.
What's your personal philosophy or belief system?
This is one of the biggest changes I've gone through recently and I’m constantly exploring it. I think my main philosophy can be summarized by a line from one of my favorite artists, Ben Folds, in his song "There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You" (lyric change added):
Life is wonderful
Life is beautiful
We’re all children of
One big Universe
So you don’t have to be a
What's the most important lesson you've ever learned?
You don't have to accept what you've been told, even if people you trust have said it and you've heard it your whole life.
What song do we all need to listen to... right now!?
I go through weird phases of music, and right now it's a bit of a dark one. One of my current fave songs is Dead Man's Bones' "In the Room Where You Sleep." Fun fact about this band for the unawares: Ryan Gosling (yes, the Ryan Gosling - you'll understand how surprising it is when you listen) is one half of it. He and his bandmate realized their mutual love of ghosts and other weird shit and decided to write love songs about them. So what I'm saying is Ryan Gosling and I are basically soulmates.
Loud Ladies is a life coaching program for bloggers and I'm interviewing a different client each month this year. If you're interested in joining the community, you can book a session here!